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Editorial
ANNIE M. KNOTT, CSD


         What is called the higher criticism of the Bible is awakening fresh interest on account of some recent utterances by one of the teachers in the University of Chicago, as reported in the daily papers. According to these reports, the Bible is declared to be "inferior to many profane documents . . . being inartistic and fragmentary." The admission is made, however, that "the Bible is not concerned with political history," hence its failure to discuss adequately this subject should not be regarded as in any wise lessening its value to mankind. It is true that a large amount of human opinion has gathered around the Bible, and seemingly obstructed the way of very many who have sought to know God through its teachings. It would be difficult to say which has wrought the greater harm in this respect, the opinions of those who have contended for the literal interpretation of Scripture which pictures the Almighty as a vengeful tyrant, or the utterances of those who have denied the authority and correctness of the Bible at almost every point. One thing is sure, — the truth cannot suffer in being tested to the utmost, and the sooner the accretions of mere human opinion are removed, the better for all concerned. No one can claim to have more of truth than he is able to apply in the working out of his life-problem, and no one has the right to deny to others the opportunity to prove all things in order to know what is true.

         In the criticism above referred to it is said that "no one will believe we have the complete life of Christ told by Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John." In answer, it should be noted that the evangelists did not claim to have told all there was to tell; on the contrary John writes, "There are also many other things which Jesus did," and he gives the vital reason for his gospel records in the telling words, "These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." The Master had said, "Ye search the Scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life . . . and ye will not come to me, that ye may have life" (John, 5: 39, 40, Rev. Ver.). If we can find Life through the Scriptures, is not this enough? Having the understanding of Life, we have all, for we learn in Christian Science that God is Life, Mind, intelligence, and if the Bible brings us this divine concept, it will continue to meet our human need in all the years to come. To gain an understanding of Life is surely the one thing needful, and yet all human learning is confessedly inadequate to explain it. The late Professor Drummond wrote, "Nature has nothing to say about spiritual Life; indeed what natural [physical] Life is remains unknown."

         From the Bible, our revered Leader, Mrs. Eddy, learned what Life is, and through this discovery thousands have been lifted out of hopeless suffering into health, happiness, and holiness, even as the sick and the sinful were healed by Christ Jesus. The scribes and Pharisees disputed with him concerning the meaning of the Scriptures, but he proved his understanding of their teachings by using them for his own support when assailed by the tempter, and later, in healing the sick and even raising the dead.

         As we study the Bible in the light of Christian Science we see how holy men of old caught glimpses of "the life which is life indeed," and we are thus aided in working out all the varied problems of existence; in healing ourselves and others. Never before in human history has the Bible been so diligently studied, and its teachings so constantly utilized as they now are in Christian Science, and that, too, irrespective of the former views of the students. The one who had been taught to reverence it from childhood, who trusted that its promises were true, though he had been unable to prove them, now loves the Bible because he can prove its teachings; and with the one who had been an agnostic he rejoices in tracing on its every page the purpose of divine Life and Love to save and bless humanity. Almost every testimony which appears in our periodicals tells what the Bible is to Christian Scientists; as is shown in the following testimony from Mrs. Bruner, which appeared in the July Journal. She says, "I had become a confirmed atheist, and did not think it possible that I ever could change my belief regarding God and the Bible . . . . I was led gradually out of my darkened sense into the light of spiritual understanding, and the dark shadows — the fear of heart and lung trouble — disappeared . . . and I was ready to fall at the feet of divine Love and cry, My Lord and my God. The beautiful teaching of Christian Science opened to me a new and true sense of life. The Bible was no longer a sealed book, but a guide to eternal life." Thus comes the Christ to all who seek Truth in Christian Science, and well may we ever pray, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus."

 

Editorial by Annie M. Knott, CSD
The Christian Science Journal, August, 1905
 

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